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Relay for Life shortfall to affect cancer care

Published:Friday | August 26, 2016 | 2:49 PMCarl Gilchrist
President and CEO of the Jamaica Public Service Kelly Tomblin (right), handed over a personal cheque of $175,000 to Marilyn Williams, branch manager, Jamaica Cancer Society St Ann/St Mary Branch.


Family members may be called upon to play a more supportive role towards their cancer-stricken relatives during the ensuing year as the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) St Ann/St Mary Branch is facing a lack of funds.

After setting a target of $5 million for its Relay for Life, which took place recently at Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios, the JCS was able to raise only around $2.5 million.

But the amount would have been much less, were it not for the kind input of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and two members of its hierarchy.

After the St Ann branch of JPS donated $175,000 to the cause, the company's President and CEO Kelly Tomblin and T'Shura Gibbs, regional director - West, both dipped into their pockets and matched that amount, each donating $175,000.

This additional amount helped to push the funds over the $2 million mark.

Branch manager for the JCS, Marilyn Williams, was happy for the personal donations and hailed both ladies for their contribution.

"She's a wonderful and very supportive lady and it was a wonderful opportunity for us," Williams said of Tomblin.


Williams, in the meanwhile, expressed reservations about what the organisation will be able to do for the coming year, given the reduced funding that will be available.

"We definitely won't be able to do as much as we did last year, we just won't be able to match anything we're doing this year or for next year," Williams told The Gleaner last Wednesday.

Other than aiding cancer patients and survivors, the JCS also offers counselling to family members of victims.

"We don't have financial offerings to give them (victims), but we have to pay for medical care or we beg some of the doctors to cover some of the cost (through reduced fees). We counsel them and guide them to make sure they can gain strength and fight to get well."